"My Mind's a Sacred Place" (new original song)
"My Mind's a Sacred Place" is my attempt to arm our children with tools to defend themselves against accidental exposure to pornography. Pornography statistics have haunted me ever since I first heard that the average age that a pornography addiction starts is now age 11. I was even more shocked to learn that about 85% of pornography contains violence, making pornography a world public health concern. It is unfortunately no longer a question of whether or not youth will encounter pornography; 100% of today's youth will be exposed to pornography in some form.
This concerned me so much that I spent the next year and a half studying how to combat pornography and use the Atonement to overcome addiction. As I learned about some of the simple yet effective ways to protect our children, I thought, "Someone should write a Primary song to reinforce these ideas." I did not expect that someone to be me until I woke up one morning with the melody and lyrics of "My Mind's a Sacred Place" running through my mind. The song came so easily that I humbly recognized it as a gift of inspiration from our Heavenly Father.
I felt an incredible sense of urgency to share the song, and prayed for guidance with the accompaniment. My talented friend Andrea came to the rescue as a direct answer to my prayers, writing the accompaniment, improving the melody for the verses, and co-writing the lyrics for the third verse. CLICK HERE to download the sheet music.
"My Mind's a Sacred Place"
There is a battle raging on;
It's a fight for right or wrong;
It's a war for my own heart and mind.
Evil traps are drawing near;
Bad pictures can appear
That steal the peace the Spirit helps me find.
Chorus: I'll turn it off; I'll walk away.
I will sing, and I will pray.
I will turn to my own loving Savior.
I know my body is a gift,
And my mind's a sacred place.
Verse 2: Temptations come to look again;
I won't look; I won't give in.
I'll talk to my mom or my dad.
I will run or play or read;
I'll help someone in need;
I'll focus on the good and name the bad.
Verse 3: When I'm tempted on my own
I don't have to feel alone;
I can talk to my Father in prayer.
I'll tell leaders who can guide;
It's my mind; I can decide
To fill my thoughts with light and truth to share.
I pray that we can teach children to follow the counsel to automatically "turn it off and walk away," and turn to the Savior. Rather than visualizing ourselves punching Satan in the face or getting him in the scope of a long-range rifle, we can use this song as one more piece of armor to invite the Spirit and give children the strength to "be clean, seek light, and choose the right."
For an audio recording of the song and sheet music, click here. The recording and sheet music are free to distribute for non-commercial, incidental, and church use.
As previously mentioned, several concepts for this song come from the book, Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today's Young Kids, by Kristen A. Jenson and Gail Poyner (Glen Cove Press, 2014). The phrase at the conclusion of the second verse, "I'll focus on the good and name the bad" is a direct reference to Jensen's suggestion that children label pornography when they encounter it. The simple act of naming it, or saying, "That's pornography," helps children activate what Jensen calls the 'thinking brain' instead of allowing the 'feeling brain' to take control.
The new church video, "What should I do when I see pornography" is a fabulous resource to teach basic concepts to your children.
He Restoreth My Soul, by Donald L. Hilton, Forward Press Publishing, 2012. Hilton is an LDS neurosurgeon who shows how pornography changes the brain of an addict, and offers hope in healing through the Savior.
Putting on the Armor of God: How to Win Your Battles with Satan, by Steven A. Crammer, Cedar Fort, 1992. Packed with great stories and valuable suggestions for coming unto Christ, Crammer is clearly a man who has paid the price to know God.
Like Dragons Did They Fight, by Maurice W. Harker, Brigham Distributing, 2013. Harker is the founder of Life Changing Services and the Sons of Helaman group, an organization that uses professional group therapy and gospel principles to help youth overcome addictions to pornography. I owe the song's battle-theme and strong marching rhythm to Harker's emphasis on using "warrior chemistry," or activating the God-given chemicals and adrenaline necessary to defend and protect our families to neutralize the lustful desires Satan constantly throws at us.
Life Changing Services also offers online classes through their Eternal Warriors Prevention Program. I highly recommend Karen Broadhead's class, "Personal Power and Freedom," which helps us identify Satan's strategies and overcome weaknesses through the atonement.
My favorite book on using the atonement and principles taught in the Book of Mormon to overcome addiction is He Did Deliver Me From Bondage, by Colleen C. Harrison, Hearthaven Publishing, 2012.
I owe a debt of gratitude to Marci McPhee, the amazing author of the PrimaryinZion.wordpress.com blog, for making me aware of how pornography is influencing children. As the Primary president of the Boston Stake, Marci gave an enlightening—although admittedly disturbing—fifth Sunday presentation to help parents recognize the problem and prepare our children to avoid pornography. Marci's statistics haunted me so much that I began studying the topic and opened my mind to inspiration for this song.
I appreciate President Robert Cutler of the Albuquerque Stake for making inspired changes to the lyrics. He changed "I will not sin" to "I won't give in," helping remove feelings of shame for accidental exposure, and changing "I'll be strong" to the more empowering phrase, "I'll choose the right." I'm also grateful to those who contributed to the audio recording: Daphne, Sean, and Hayden Gariety and Anna White for singing, Sharee Gariety for accompanying, and Kevin Boyak for recording. Thanks also to the wonderful children who gave of their time and talent for numerous preliminary audio recordings, including Benjamin and Daniel Holt, Gabe, Hayden, and Isabella Tasker, and the Doxey, Graham, Lerohl, Webster, and White families—thank you!
And of course, a huge thank you to my co-composer, Andrea Landaker. This bio just scratches the surface of her amazing talents:
Andrea Landaker writes music, fiction, and video games, most recently the free marriage simulator "Our Personal Space." She lives in New Mexico with her husband and three kids.